I have noticed on a number of blogs today (including Iain Dale and Dizzy) that there is discussion that the TV debates might be in jeopardy because of the demands of Brown and Cameron about the make-up of the audience. Brown apparently wants the audience weighted by number of Commons seats (ridiculous given that Labour only got 36% of the vote but 55% of the seats) and Cameron apparently wants them weighted by current opinion polls.
Sunday, 24 January 2010
Back in July last year I suggested that a broadcaster should announce that a debate will take place and empty chair any leader who does not turn up. Then in October when there was some wobbling on the agreed format, I again suggested that the broadcasters should decide.
I am sorry to sound like a broken record but frankly, if the leaders can't agree then to me the answer is obvious. The broadcasters should come up with their own impartial way of selecting an audience (the best one I have seen so far is randomly from those who apply for tickets) and then tell the leaders that's how it's going to be. If any of the leaders then refuse to attend that's their call.
We cannot allow any of the leaders to scupper the chance of these important opportunities for the public to hold them to account and properly test them on their election manifestos. If they need to be shamed into agreement and attendance then so be it.
Empty chair 'em.